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Called to Coach
Different Types of Goals to Set in 2023
Called to Coach

Different Types of Goals to Set in 2023

Webcast Details

  • Why is it important to set goals?
  • Why should you keep your strengths in mind when you set goals?
  • How often should you reset or reevaluate your goals?

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.


The beginning of a new year is a great time to think about goals. "When we're thinking about setting goals, it's this promise that we make to ourselves that life can be better; life and work can improve, and here's how I'm going to make them better" -- says Gallup Wellbeing Lead Ryan Wolf. What kinds of goals can you set, and what's a healthy number of goals? How can knowing your strengths (and the domains of your dominant strengths) help you in goal setting? How does being open to revising your goals help you stay on track? And how can the 5 elements of wellbeing guide you in your goal setting? Join Ryan as he shares tips to help you hone your goal setting for 2023 and beyond.


We really can't improve on something unless we're really properly managing it. So that's a nice way to think about goals is by kind of measuring and managing the important things at work and life.

Ryan Wolf, 4:32

It's important to evaluate and reset goals throughout the year ... to go back and edit and evaluate and reset, based on circumstances that will certainly change, for better or worse or indifferent.

Ryan Wolf, 23:03

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and welcome to The CliftonStrengths Podcast. On this podcast, we'll be covering topics such as wellbeing, teamwork, professional development and more. Now enjoy this episode. This episode was previously recorded on LinkedIn Live.

Meet Our Guest on This Episode

Branden Mills 0:18
Hello, everyone, and thanks for joining our LinkedIn Live. My name is Branden Mills, Talent Development Specialist here at Gallup. Today we have the pleasure, I have the pleasure of hosting today's session. And we have such a great topic today, especially with us going into the new year. And that topic is different types of goals to set in 2023. Our fantastic guest and great friend of mine today is Ryan Wolf. Ryan is our Wellbeing Lead here at Gallup. And he's super, super knowledgeable on setting goals. Ryan, we're so happy to have you join us today.

Ryan Wolf 0:52
Yeah, thanks a lot for having me here, Branden. Super good to, to have everyone else along. So thank you.

Branden Mills 1:00
Absolutely. And as we're waiting for a few people to join in, we'd love for you guys to throw in your Top 5 in the chat, and where you're located as well. Love to see some of that information. And then as you're thinking about that, I'd love to throw this question out for you all. And that question is, What is the goal you set for 2023? Ryan, if you don't mind sharing your Top 5. What are some goals you'd like to set for 2023?

Ryan Wolf 1:24
Yeah, OK, so first, my Top 5 are Discipline, Achiever, Futuristic, Activator and Harmony. So, you know, I just, I think maybe I have a different kind of scope or kind of perspective on, on, on setting goals. Mine are really, really disciplined and really oriented and kind of action-oriented. So yeah, I think there's a lot of things I want to get done. I just got the email from our lead, Matt Mosser, told us that we sent to Gallup All, set at least between 3 to 10 goals and submit them. I haven't set them yet. So I might press pause on that question, Branden, so we can revisit it later.

Branden Mills 2:09
Awesome. You know, you know, I love that you said you have Discipline No. 1. This was something we were talking about previously as well. But, you know, I have Discipline No. 3. And so I love to be very detailed when it comes to my goals. I want to make sure that they're well thought out; I want to make sure I'm putting the right things in there. So I'm right there with you too. I would say one of the biggest goals that I'd love to do, you know, and this is just a personal goal for myself, I'd love to just be more in tune with a lot of my peers. I think that's a big goal for me, you know, hanging out, seeing some family, stuff like that. So that's one of my goals for 2023. Well, Ryan, you know, you know, as we're having you here, I don't know how recently it's been since you've been on our LinkedIn Lives. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Ryan Wolf 2:49
You bet. So been working, so my name's Ryan Wolf. I'm the Wellbeing Lead at Gallup. I work closely with our benefits team. I integrate research into all that we do to support wellbeing for employees, our internal employees, for clients and for the public. So that's kind of the Cliff Notes of what I do.

Why Is Setting Goals Important?

Branden Mills 3:13
Awesome, awesome. And you're fantastic at what you do, by the way, as well. So that was one of the first ways I got to meet you. So glad to have you on here full circle. Well, as we're on the topic of setting goals for 2023, Ryan, I'd love for you to give us some insight on Why is it so important to set goals?

Ryan Wolf 3:33
Yeah, so I, so I love that question. I think it's, it's important when we're thinking about setting, we're thinking about setting goals, it's kind of this promise that we kind of make to ourselves that kind of life can be better; life and work can improve, and here's how I'm going to make them better. So I think, you know, goal setting kind of taps into our hopefulness and kind of that innate kind of characteristic that we have of hope that really kind of brings out the, the ingenuity and helps us just improve life and be better than we were yesterday or last month or last year. And with, with goal setting, you know, just thinking about what Matt set, sent to us, we often say this phrase that you can't, you can't manage what you don't measure. So I think that's important when we're thinking about goals, and we really can't improve on something unless we're really properly managing it. So that's a nice way to think about goals is by kind of measuring and managing the important things at work and life.

Ryan Wolf 4:46
And when, so I got excited when I, when I got his email. I think that's, I think a lot of people can as well, because it kind of can trigger some new, like, behaviors or new focuses that you shared. Things kind of can trigger some new guidelines or rules that you might want to set for yourself, if you're a rule setting kind of person or new habits. Yeah, so, you know, and goals are, goals can be, you know, superficial or they can run, run deep as well. With, with me, I've got Discipline-Achiever, you know, 1 and 2. So sometimes the goals that I set can, maybe when others are looking at them, they might feel like, Oh, these are just kind of superficial, get this stuff done, do that. It can maybe look like a checklist. But for others, it can, it can run deeper and kind of really give us clues to like the purpose and meaning that we have and that we're looking for in our lives. So I just, I think it's, it's important to kind of know that there's different ways that we kind of think about goals and how we set them and what we're trying to accomplish when we're doing so.

Branden Mills 5:58
So Ryan, you know, I love how you're, you know, tying in the strengths here. And I don't want to rush through our, you know, our next question, but when, I love how you're talking about your Discipline, right. Do you think it's like a little bit harder, with you having Discipline No. 1, to set goals at all? Or, because I have Discipline pretty high, too. And I'm, like, we were talking about, I was like, you know, it's kind of hard for me to set goals, because I want to be so very detail-oriented on those goals. And I want to make sure I'm setting up correctly. So --

Ryan Wolf 6:23
Yeah. I feel like a lot of times when I look at my goals, they can feel stale, because circumstances have changed. And I kind of want to just reset or throw them away and create new ones. So I'm often doing that. That's healthy for me. It might not be healthy or natural for others. But yeah, I can definitely relate to, to, to your comment there. Yeah.

Branden Mills 6:46
Awesome. We actually have a question that popped in here in the chat, from Millicent. She said, What planner should I use for 2023? Any suggestions on that at all, Ryan?

Ryan Wolf 6:56
What planner?

Branden Mills 6:57

Ryan Wolf 6:57
Gosh. So if we just like Googled® "goal-setting planners," we'd probably have infinite resources to choose from. I think, so if you're looking for a framework, the SMART framework is really good. So Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-bound is a good one. And then I think, you know, anything that just naturally can kind of get you in the zone, where you're thinking about your successes and, and what you want to repeat over time, when we think about strengths, one of the best ways to identify what your strengths are is by studying your successes. So that can be, you know, a good way to think about it as well.

Why Keep Your Strengths in Mind When Goal Setting?

Branden Mills 7:47
Absolutely. I love that. So when, you know, I love to tell this story, too. But when, when I first started, you know, when I was in high school, when I was in college, I was terrible at setting goals, Ryan. I was absolutely terrible. I never knew what to do. My goals were, you know, they weren't measurable or anything like that. But ever since I actually joined Gallup and I actually focus a lot more on my strengths, things have become a lot easier. And that's a little bit of what I want to talk to you about. Because, you know, I would love to, for you to give some of your information and insight on What is the strengths-based goal? And why should you keep your strengths in mind when you set goals? Why is it so important to do so?

Ryan Wolf 8:24
OK, yeah, well, goal setting, kind of like everything else in life, it can be a lot more efficient and effective and successful if we're really intentional about utilizing our themes and our strengths. So really, if you think about who you are, you can't help but be yourself. So therefore try to be a little bit more of who you are. And try to be, be more of your best self by, by utilizing your strengths and kind of creating goals with your strengths in mind. Really, strengths-based goals, they kind of just really help us -- and I talked about this a little bit -- helped us kind of identify your approach or your relationship to goals or kind of your perspective on goals. And I think we can't all kind of use the same framework or think about goals the same way. Just like we all have unique themes, and you got a 1 in 33 million chance that someone else has the same Top 5 as you, so there's a really good chance that your goals shouldn't be similar to anyone else's.

Ryan Wolf 9:37
They also, you know, strengths-based goals really can just kind of be created and designed to help you get really the most out of your, your natural tendencies. So I think it just, yeah, just helps having them in mind. We have a whole page, a whole webpage dedicated to setting strengths-based goals that, that is really good to reference and resource as you're thinking about this topic. So I think that's important. There's also, I'm thinking about a recent article that Bailey Nelson wrote -- and she wrote this maybe 1 or 2 weeks ago -- about kind of strengths pairs or strengths packages. There's, she kind of identified a bunch of different packages. There's things like social packages or detail- oriented packages of strengths or perspective. So I think that's, that was a, that's a really helpful article, I haven't seen us do a lot of work or authoring or writing on strengths packages or theme packages, which was super cool. But I think that, that is enlightening.

Ryan Wolf 10:46
So we talked about kind of my, my perspective on goal setting. And I think, for some, goal setting can be really natural. Let's say you have Futuristic or Strategic or Focus or Discipline, those are, those can be like really natural goal-setting types of things to have. But let's say, let's say you have themes like Adaptability or Ideation, like, Harmony, that, it might feel less natural to, to kind of create goals, because the goals could feel rigid or restricted or constrained to -- constrain you to, like, acting in ways or operating in ways that aren't natural to you.

Ryan Wolf 11:34
So that's where I think coaches or really good managers or best friends at work can be really helpful to bounce ideas off or set goals with, when we think about people who have really a lot of, who are really strong in Relationship Building themes. So let's say, you know, people who have Empathy, Developer, Harmony, Positivity, Includer, for some, you might feel, goal setting might feel in a ways, in a way, like, kind of selfish, because they're always kind of others-oriented; they're others-oriented people. And so I think it's, you know, it's important just to, that's just another, a different perspective that they might have. And maybe setting goals with, with others in mind or setting goals through others or setting goals as a team can be helpful for those. So --

Goals, CliftonStrengths Domains and the SMART Framework

Branden Mills 12:29
And I think you touched on a great point there really quickly; I want to circle back to something you just said, because you kind of touch base on the domains really quickly. So, you know, if you lead with certain types of domains, like it's Relationship Building or Influencing or Strategic Thinking, should you approach, you know, should there be a different approach to setting your goals, when looking at it from that perspective?

Ryan Wolf 12:50
Yeah, absolutely. So think about, think about what, just, you know, take a look at your profile and which, which themes you resonate most closely to. And really utilize those as, you know, in addition to something like a SMART framework that, that has, has been used, you know, tried and true. You know, you can Google SMART, and there's probably, you know, 10 billion articles on it. But, but when you add your strengths to the fold, then it's SMARTer. And it's a just a way to level up kind of what maybe everyone else is thinking about and what you would have been thinking about prior.

Action-Oriented vs. Outcome-Oriented Goals

Branden Mills 13:36
I love that. That's some great insight there. Now, Ryan, I want to circle back to setting goals, in the sense of, you know, how you can have better outcomes, and really focus in on honing a lot of the goals that a lot of people really want to set for 2023. So there's different types of goals that you can set. And one of the things that I'd love for you to talk about really quickly here is, you know, what are the differences between, you know, an action-oriented goal and then outcome-oriented goals? So, if you could just touch base on that really quickly.

Ryan Wolf 14:04
Yeah. Yeah, so actions and outcomes. Definitely, you know, sometimes when we're setting a goal, it, it might be hard to, for some of us based upon how we're wired, to understand which one we're setting or maybe they're integrated with both, they're oriented with both, you know, actions and, and kind of results. So I think as you're, as you're setting the goals, if you want to kind of identify which one is which, with, when you're thinking about an outcome goal, and if it's something that is kind of finite or can be complete, and it can be finished, then that's probably, you're probably looking at an outcome goal there. If you're, if you've set a goal that feels infinite and perhaps repetitive, something that you'll do each and every day or every week or month, and it could potentially never end, that might be an action goal that you have there. And both are great. And we don't need to, you know, rewrite them if you feel like it's something that you really want to do or something that's suited to who you are. But it's just good to be aware of whether or not it's a outcome or action, or both. And then maybe setting other goals that could support each other.

Ryan Wolf 15:28
So when you think about, let's, let's just say, for example, like one of my, one of my goals is to, I just want to, I want to have -- I guess, let's go with one of your goals. You mentioned that you want to be, you want to relate more with others; you want to like improve your social wellbeing. And that's kind of, that's more of an outcome goal. Maybe your process or your action goal is, I'm going to intentionally reach out to one person each week who I haven't talked to recently. So that could be a way to kind of set an action goal for the outcome goal that you've already established.

Branden Mills 16:08
You know, Ryan, I should be writing this down right now. Cause I'm gonna need that. But it was, so Would you say that, you know, when looking at like outcome-oriented goals and action-oriented goals, do you think that, you know, looking at outcome-oriented goals, do you think that's more of, like, the long-term type of goal and then action is kind of correlated to short term? Or is there any discrepancy there?

Ryan Wolf 16:29
Yeah, it kind of depends on how the, the Time-bound that, you know -- Time-bound is the T in SMART -- it depends on the, the time frame that you have bound to the goal. And, you know, I think, you know, some action goals could be, you know, things you do today, or it could also be things that you do in the long term. But, yeah, I think generally, you might be onto something there -- outcome goals, are, you know, some, especially when we're setting them in certain times of the year, December, January, we're kind of thinking, OK, what do I want to accomplish during the next 12 months or so? And we're kind of thinking about outcome goals. And I think it's healthy to step back to share with a coach, a manager, a best friend at work, Hey, you know, anything you see that I could set in terms of action goals? What, what could I do to support the, what actions could I create in order to help me achieve these outcomes?

Approaching a Similar Goal With Differing Talents

Branden Mills 17:34
Absolutely. That's some great insight there. Thank you, Ryan. We actually had another question come in from Angeline Soon. She said, Ryan, can you give an example of how two people with different top talents might approach a similar goal? And, for example, be on time for meetings?

Ryan Wolf 17:53
OK, I love it. So let's say, be on time for meetings can be challenging for us. Let's say you've got Competition for one, and then -- I think the question is, Can you use different domains to achieve the same goal? Is that the question? Or an example, two people with different talents, OK. so let's say somebody's really high in Competition, and then their partner is really high in Relator. OK, they both want to achieve the same goal, which is to get to meetings on time. Well, the person with Competition, pretty natural for them to say, All right, I'm gonna, I want to be on time. But I don't just want to be on time; I want to be the first one there. I'm going to get this thing started. Because I've got that Influencing part of my, of who I am. So that's how I'm going to get there. I'm going to be the first one to arrive.

Ryan Wolf 18:47
The -- what did I say the theme was for the other one, Relator? -- I believe I did. So that person wants to get to meetings on time, because there's some really good conversation, and, that can be had prior to a meeting getting formally started, that can build a relationship that can be circled back on after the meeting and really kind of personalize all of what might have felt like a, maybe a dry meeting where it was just like, OK, here's what we need to do. Adding some personality to it with the Relator, showing up early can help with that.

Different Types of Goals, Frameworks

Branden Mills 19:24
Awesome. Thank you so much, Angeline, for that question here. If you guys do have any other questions, feel free to throw them in the chat as well. We'd love to answer them. Ryan, I want to, I want to go back to the different types of goals that there may be, and this, this really touches home with me because this is really what I struggled with previously was looking at the different types of goals, whether they're from quarterly goals or yearly goals. Do you want to just talk about, like, the differences in goals that are out there?

Ryan Wolf 19:52
Yeah, absolutely. So when we think about the, the time frame that we're using, I think it can be helpful if, if we're the type of person who is thinking really, like maybe we have high Futuristic or, you know, high Influencing themes as well that are thinking Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals -- BHAG is a, is another framework like, like SMART -- a lot of times, those can be distant in the future, maybe hard to grasp. And I think it can be helpful to come back around and say, OK, what do we need to accomplish today or next week or this month, in order to track and hit those milestones? You can think of it almost as like a Google Maps.

Ryan Wolf 20:36
Like, let's say, you're in New York City right now. You're sitting there, and you have a big goal to, to achieve a road trip, a road trip to San Francisco. That's big. And that's awesome. And that's gonna be a lot of fun. But there's going to be some, some details and some stops along the way you're going to need to plan around and navigate. So I think that's just kind of a way to illustrate how we can, you know, we can kind of like come to grips and, and really be a little bit more practical about the big, awesome, great things that we do want to accomplish.

What Is a Healthy Number of Goals?

Branden Mills 21:11
Awesome. Perfect. Thank you so much for answering that. And, you know, that one I actually I'm like, I'm keeping that one up here, because I need that. Natalie asks a question here. She said, What is a healthy number of goals to have? 2, 4, 9, 20 maybe? What do you have for us, Ryan?

Ryan Wolf 21:29
Great question. So I haven't checked the literature. I'm curious; I'm thinking about maybe doing so and seeing what's effective, based on what's been researcher studied. I think that we're also just, like, you're the researcher in your own life. So start experimenting with what really works well for you. Set, think about, think about your successes and the goals that you've set leading up to those. That's probably a pretty good indicator to how many goals you should be setting. Gallup asks all of our associates to set between 3 and 10 goals. I don't think that came from, from a research project. Perhaps it did. But that's, that's what we're asked and tasked to do here at Gallup. But I think whatever feels natural and, and motivating, invigorating, exciting for you, is probably the right number that you'll land on.

Resetting, Reevaluating Goals

Branden Mills 22:30
Awesome. I hope that answers your question there, Natalie. And Ryan, back, back to you, I'd love to just, kind of to close us out here is, you know, is there any other goal-setting advice, based from a standpoint of elements of wellbeing or a strengths-based approach, that you'd love to just give out to a lot of the people who may be watching or people who may be listening to this a little bit later that might be useful when it comes to setting goals for 2023?

Ryan Wolf 22:57
Yeah, OK. So that's great. I just probably could go on and on about this, but I think it's important to, to really, to evaluate and reset goals kind of throughout the year. So if you're thinking about yearlong goals that you're setting right now, it's OK to go back and edit and evaluate and reset, based on circumstances that will certainly change, for better or worse or indifferent. So just be prepared to, to be OK with evaluating and resetting those and updating those. So it can be a living document. Your goals, they don't have to be printed out; they can be, you know, digital. It can maybe help you to have them printed out and to have them fixed and, and stationary. But it might also be helpful to have them be editable, as the circumstances at work and your life are changing.

Ryan Wolf 23:57
So I think, you know, you asked about wellbeing, and we have a framework for, for wellbeing that includes multiple elements. And I think it's important to understand, so the elements are, we've talked about career a whole bunch. So that's element No. 1. There's also social, financial, physical and community -- the other 4 elements. Perhaps there's other elements of your life that you feel are really important to you as well. That's part of your framework of wellbeing. The, the 5 elements that we have are internationally common and statistically significant, when we conducted the World Poll in the early 2000s. But it's important to get back to -- the point that I want to make is, let's, let's say we've created lots of, of career goals that are exciting for us. They're things we want to share, we want to accomplish with, with others for ourselves, for, for the sake of improving our lives. And so, so we think about career goals. And, and, you know, the all the elements of, of our life and wellbeing are really interdependent, they're interrelated, they're, you can't really silo them out. So think about how maybe a physical goal could help you achieve one of your career goals.

Ryan Wolf 25:19
So if we think about, yeah, we think about physical wellbeing at its essence and pure definition is to have energy and to have the health that you want to do, kind of have the energy and vigor to do the things that you want to do every day. So what are some physical goals that you could, you could -- and maybe these could be Action-oriented, or, to help you accomplish what you want to do with your career, with your career goals? So could be that maybe one goal is I'm going to start each day by stepping outside, walking around the block, getting my heart rate going, get some endorphins going. That's the way I'm going to kind of, you know, get my body moving and to clear my head, so I can have a great start to the day and tackle my goals with, with full energy. So that's just an example of kind of how kind of our, those elements of wellbeing can intersect each other and, and build upon each other. And there's really infinite ways that we can find those intersections. So I'd just encourage you and, and to encourage others as well to find those connections to make, to make deeper commitments and, and more energizing activities too and goals to complete.

Should You Share Your Goals With Others?

Branden Mills 26:47
Awesome. Thank you so much, Ryan. And it looks like we have just one more question here to close this out. And that is, you know, talk, Should you talk about goals with other people? Or should you keep them to yourself, if you have no need for accountability buddies? What's your thoughts on that?

Ryan Wolf 27:01
Oh, OK, that's great. So. OK. I like, I like this question a lot, because I feel that we definitely need to share goals with others. So we should, we should, that can be very helpful for a lot of different reasons. I think it's also OK to have some personal goals that, maybe they're just like, maybe they're, like, so overly ambitious that you might feel embarrassed to share with other people. But I challenge that thought, that train of thought that, that maybe it's embarrassing to share with somebody else, because it's overly ambitious or zealous. But I think that's just a way to, to get others, those people who are most important in your life, to help you, kind of to help support you in achieving what you really want out of life. So, so I think, I think it's OK to maybe set the big ones. Maybe keep them to yourself, if you feel like it's better that way. But, but challenge your, challenge yourself. And, you know, maybe not every goal needs to be shared with your manager. And not every goal, maybe your spouse isn't interested in every single goal that you have about work. But certainly utilize your social ties and your, your partnerships wisely. And that's really, that's really the essence of social wellbeing is to gain support for things that are important in our life.

Branden Mills 28:43
Well, thank you, Ryan, so much for your time. I hope you guys can use a lot of what we shared today to set some of your goals for 2023, with 2023 being right around the corner. For all of our listeners out there, if you're interested in more of this content, check out our CliftonStrengths Podcast on any of the available apps. Feel free to check out our YouTube channel as well. And if you aren't following the CliftonStrengths LinkedIn page, feel free to do so as well. We have tons of great information on here. And with that, like I said, Ryan, thank you so much, and I'll see you all next time.

Jim Collison 29:13
Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of The CliftonStrengths Podcast. Make sure you like and subscribe wherever you listen, so you never miss an episode. And if you're really enjoying this podcast, please leave a review. This helps us promote strengths globally.

Ryan Wolf's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Discipline, Achiever, Futuristic, Activator and Harmony.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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